Reality check for Portugal

Portugal may have exited its bailout ‘cleanly’ and has certainly won a lot of good press for agreeing an early payback of €14 billion of its bailout loan from the IMF, but none of it means that debt has reduced, economics professor José Reis has told radio station RFI Português. “State debt has not diminished – on the contrary it has increased”, he explained.

“The Portuguese economy is a hostage to its debt, and the government is working fundamentally for its creditors,” he added.

Reis, a lecturer at Coimbra University, said he saw more similarities with Greece vis-a-vis Portugal’s situation, than with Ireland.

His comments came as the pressure in Portugal for the government to support Greece is reported to be on the increase, reports RFI.

Rita Batista, one of the demonstrators who took part in anti-austerity protests in Lisbon last weekend, told the station: “We see the Greek struggle as if it was ours. We believe that once change is possible in Greece, it will extend to all the other countries, in relation to the politically repressive measures exercised by those in charge of the European Union, and principally by Germany”.